Posted in childhood dreams, Christianity, Expectations, goals, life, Mom Confessions, Self Care, Uncategorized, WAHM, Writing

I’m [NOT] writing a book: Saying No When you want to say Yes

I had this post all planned out a few weeks ago, the post where I would announce, “I’M WRITING A BOOK!”

But this is not that post.

The truth is, I want to write a book, but I’m not. At least not right now.

I’ve had an idea for a book for the better part of a year. Six weeks ago opened my file of notes and asked myself, “Why not now?
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I asked for feedback from friends.
 And they gave it: We love this idea!
I wrote a rough draft of a proposal.
I set up a meeting with a former professor who has published a few books.
I emailed another professor-friend who gave me encouragement and a sample of her last book proposal.
I listened to a podcast on how to write a proposal.
I got more great feedback and encouragement from friends and mentors.

I was thrilled, excited, ready to leap, and terrified all at the same time.

But I couldn’t jump.

Through all these weeks of excitement I was praying, asking God for his wisdom about my plans: Show me if this is the right time.

I got so much confirmation that this is a Good Thing, a Good Idea, a Good Plan. If I chose to go forward, it would be Right.

But as I tried to take care of my children, grade papers, spend time with my husband and the girls I mentor, blog, and move forward with the book, I realized I was being stretched so thin that I was starting to snap.
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I wasn’t loving the Little Things faithfully in all my plans for the Big.

I realized that I don’t have the time, energy or enough of me to do all the Good Things I want to do in my life right now.

So, despite all the whirlwind of excitement, the confirmations and support, and all the planning I put in, I know the answer to my prayers is this: Pull back. Not yet. Focus on what is going on around you right now. Be faithful.
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I tend to be very future-focused; I find a lot of passion and excitement in making plans and setting goals. I can see the big picture, way in the future. It’s a lot harder to put my binoculars down, stop gazing on dreams, and focus on steps that I need to take to actually make my goals a reality.

But what I really need right now is everyday faithfulness: taking care of my daily responsibilities, building relationships with my family and friends, learning more about blogging, building my audience, and writing regularly.

Writing the book right now could have been a Good Thing but it is not the Best Thing, both for my family and where I am right now as a writer.

There are so many big things in my life that I want to say “Yes” to, but sometimes, saying “No” is the best way to ultimately reach my goals.
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Sometimes the best “Yes” is “Not Yet.”

Have you had to say “No” to a Good Thing in your life?
How do you know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”?

TheBamBlog is trying to grow! Did this post encourage you or would it inspire someone you know?
If so, please share! Thank you! :

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Posted in Christianity, Human Trafficking, My Motherhood, Writing

When Holy Desire and Motherhood Colide: A story of how God answered my unspoken prayers

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of doing “something big” for God. I would write that book; I would travel the world; I would speak before thousands at seminars; I would become the mentor that would impart godly wisdom. I was ready to soar for God’s glory.

Fifteen years later, married with four young sons, I sometimes feel that I am grounded, both physically and spiritually.

My aspirations are much less grandiose (and self-glorifying) now, but my desire to serve the Lord is still deep. Yet I often feel frustrated that my heart wants to offer so much more than the reality of my life allows me to give. After all, husband, home, and children take up most of my daily effort and energy.

I know I’m not alone. As I listen to my friends and read in the blogging world, I know that many women feel as I do. While I recognize my God-given roles as a wife and the mother of four young boys, I still have the ache to do something more.

Shouldn’t I just be content with the ministry of my family?  What do we do when our desires to serve God are harnessed by the responsibilities of domestic life and motherhood?

I often don’t even know how to pray about this desire. So I don’t.

But God knew it anyways.

Unexpectedly, my old college roommate contacted me: “Let’s get together for coffee! I have something that I want to talk to you about.

During Silas’ naptime, we sat at my kitchen table and Sabrena told me about her MFA thesis, “The Lucky Ones” project: a set of three graphic novels, a la comic book style, to address human trafficking of American girls in the USA. The project, focused on education and prevention, was unique and inspiring. I was so excited for her.

But then, she asked me a surprising question.

“Would you consider being my writer for this project?”

I felt a shocking holiness in her question, almost like God was saying, “I see you. I know you can’t go overseas, or travel the country, or work for a non-profit, or do midnight counseling sessions in jail cells…but this. You can do this. I know your heart. I haven’t forgotten about you.”

That was two years ago. Since then, I have learned about the sobering, wretched reality of the human trafficking sex trade. I’ve written two stories for her project, and our team is hoping to do a third story in the future.

The Lucky Ones team: Me, Sabrena, and Mike (our illustrator)

It has been the most challenging project I have ever done. In fact, after writing two stories, I feel my psyche resisting, because plunging my mind and heart into this type of story telling once again is soul shocking, like jumping into the deep end of a freezing swimming pool and getting the wind knocked out of you as you struggle to keep your head above water.

During the research and writing process, my husband has shaken his head out of concern for me, saying, “I can tell you’re researching again. You’re in a dark place.”

The project has been difficult, but it has also been Good. Sabrena is about to defend her thesis. “The Lucky Ones” is a beautiful, powerful project that I pray will bring education and prevention to many, many people.

I got to be a small part of “something big.”

So what is the point of this story? I guess it’s this: God has not forgotten you.

This opportunity opened my eyes to the unique and unexpected ways that God can fulfill my desires to serve him (Psalm 37:4), even when, in my life as a busy mom of young children, it seemed impossible.

As mothers, we often feel like our duty is to constantly meet the needs of others. There is holiness in this act of selflessness. Yet God cares about our needs as well.

He also cares about our desires.

As Jen Pollock Michel writes in her book  Teach us to Want, “we discover that our desires are given by God—not in the sense of granted, but more in the sense of confided.”

I’m becoming more brave in telling God my desires these days. But, in reality, he already knows them, and he wants to give me so many Good Gifts.

In wrestling with my own frustration of balancing my personal wants and trusting God for his timing, I have quietly learned that God has not forgotten about my youthful desires to serve him. The first act of service is trust. As Michel writes, “Holy trust believes that whatever God chooses to give is enough.”

And God does give. The only thing left to do is say “yes” to these unexpected, surprising opportunities to serve, small as they may seem, in this season of limitations.

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Want to learn more about “The Lucky Ones” Project? Click here! 

Posted in life, My Motherhood, Writing

Ten things I didn’t expect 10 years later

You know those cliche “Where do you see yourself in 10 years” writing assignments that English teachers make you write? (Yeah….I made my students do this in class the other day. Way to perpetuate the cliche, right?)
Well, I have been thinking a lot about “10 years later” lately because it has been ten years since I left home to move across the country to go to college. Ten years ago I was was a freshman at Liberty University. And oh, how my life has changed in ten years!! There are so many ways I have grown up, so many ways that my life has deepened, broadened. And there are so many things I didn’t expect about my life to be like ten years later. 
This is me, a little college student about 10 years ago.
So, here are 10 things I didn’t expect to experience…but I am so glad I did. And still am. 
I didn’t expect….
10. To still be at Liberty University 10 years later–undergrad, grad school, and now faculty. We even got married in the Prayer Chapel on campus. Yep. I am an inbred now. No matter where I go from here, Liberty will forever be “home” to me. 
9. To get my Masters Degree. This may be a surprise to some people because now, I love everything academic but there was a time in my life that I thought I would just skip college all together. Crazy, huh?
Graduation Day: MA in English
8. To have twins. Biggest surprise OF MY LIFE. 
7. To have all boys. Yeah, I didn’t expect this either. The boy-creature continues to surprise me. They are such a wild mess of energy, noise, and affection! 
Love kissing those sticky cheeks and fuzzy heads!
6. For motherhood to be so challenging. I respect and admire my mother so much more since becoming a mother. 
5. To use my creative writing in such a radical way to serve God. I always wanted to be a writer. Right now I am working on a team project as a creative writer to produce three graphic novels to help bring awareness, education and prevention to Human Trafficking in the USA. I have been stretched and deepened in ways that I could never have imagined. And this is just the beginning. 

4. To meet a man that would so transform my life for the better. Aaron, you have helped shape me into the person I am today. I would not be who I am today if I had not met you. 
In the ‘rot at LU, our first semester dating (10 years ago). Yeah, we were babies. 
It’s been 7.5 years since this day; I am still saying “I do” every day. 
3. To be so comfortable in my own skin. When I left home 10 years ago, I didn’t know who I was yet… but I was ready to find out. I am really happy with the person I have become and am becoming. 
2. For my faith to be so transformed. Ten years ago, I pretty much thought “I knew it all” as a Christian. Now, each day I feel like am back at square one in following Christ, the square that says “Love God, Love people, that’s it.” So humbling. 
1. To be so blessed. I have been deeply, truly blessed in the most non-cliche way. Ten years later, the Lord has blessed me.
Our family: Micah and Benji, 5 years old. Silas 10 months. Me? 29 years old. 
What about you? When you look back 10 years, are your surprised at where life and the Lord has taken you? 
Where do you see yourself ten years from TODAY?
Posted in childhood dreams, My Motherhood, Writing

When I grow up…Living my childhood dreams

I have a distinct memory of my grandmother asking me, “What do you want to be when you grow up, Brittany?”

“A writer,” I promptly stated, at 5 years old. “I love stories.”
(My grandmother then told me that it is very hard to make a living as a writer so I should consider being an English teacher. Wise woman, that one, as I have yet to make any money from my writing).
As a little girl, I always had a story (or three) stirring up inside of me, pushing against my brain, making my fingers itch for a pencil (my writing utensil of choice). 
(Apparently my favorite word was “little” as I used it 14 times in this story)
I even wrote stories before I knew how to write. The picture above is from my very first story, “Bunny is Mine.” I dictated the story to my mother and then illustrated my masterpiece. 
My mom utilized my love of writing in our homeschool and had me write short stories with  my spelling words every week.  The moment I saw those spelling words, my mind starting forming a story. Words were magical. I could make them do things, say things, create worlds. 
I wrote my first “book” when I was 11: Snow Children. I didn’t have very nice handwriting so my older sister Amberley copied the story in her pretty penmanship for my parents. I gave them Snow Children for Christmas in 1995. 
I couldn’t wait to start my next novel. I was extremely disciplined. I wrote every day for 4 months, spending hours crafting my historical-fiction-time-travel novel about four best friends. I called it True Friends. It was awesome. Here is page 105, complete with misspellings. I was (still am) a horrible speller. So much for those spelling word stories, huh? 
See the date in the picture? In 1997 I was 12 years old. 
I was determined to make my dreams come true. I needed to know more, do more. I found out about local writing workshops. I tucked my favorite purple notebook under my arm, put a pencil and Chapstick in my purse and rode my bike to workshop after workshop. 

Looking back, what I did was horribly embarrassing. The workshops weren’t for kids. They were held over the lunch hour so budding writers could attend during their work day, but as a homeschool student I could attend during regular school hours. No one said anything to me but I got some funny looks. 
I didn’t care. I was serious, completely dedicated. 
In high school I dabbled in writing radio drama as I was a huge fan of “Adventures in Odyssey” (a Christian radio drama series.) I wrote a melodrama called “What’s Brewing in Percolator?” for me and my friends to perform. Yep. That happened. It was hilarious…. and horrible. 
I also taught acting classes at the local community theater and wrote a fairy tale spoof for my 5-6th grade students to perform. The picture above is from my first draft, complete with (more) misspelled words and scribbled editing. When the kids performed it, everyone laughed (like “Percolator” it was  hilarious and horrible as well). I was so proud. 
I have notebooks and binders filled with stories, plans for stories, character sketches. I would frequently lie awake at night with my latest story playing behind my closed eyes like a movie. There was way too much imagination going on to sleep. 
 I think my illustrations for “Bunny is Mine” were probably better than the ones in “Libby’s Wish.”
I participated in the “Written and Illustrated by” program as an early teen and wrote “Libby’s Wish.” The plot line of “Libby’s Wish” was pretty lame but at the time, I was so proud! 
My creative writing slowed down in my later teen years. My dream of becoming a writer seemed kind of like all my stories: childish. I needed to be more practical. I threw myself into my school work, first my undergraduate and then my masters degree. I became an English teacher. 
In the middle of all that I got married and had three kids. 
But that little childhood dream kept tickling a tiny place in my heart. So I tried again. 
I started my blog. 
I wrote articles. 
I entered writing contests.
I wrote short stories for kids. 
I went to more writing workshops (this time I wasn’t 30 years younger than everyone else) 
I studied how to write query letters. 
I sent out story after story, article after article to publishers. 
And my writing was rejected. 
Again. And again. And again. 
I would still lay awake at night, but now I would dream about the day I would get the letter or the phone call. The person on the other end would say “We are pleased to inform you…” and I would scream with joy! My joy would be so big that I wouldn’t be able to hold it all inside. I would shout it to the world, “I AM A WRITER!”

That moment has yet to happen. 

I’ve been blogging for almost 6 years. I’ve had 3 or 4 articles and/or short stories published. I was intensely happy when I finally saw my work in print (or online) (you can read about these amazing experiences here, here, and here) but there was no screaming-into-the-phone or sudden epiphany that I had suddenly “arrived.” 

I realized that, as cliche as it sounds, becoming a writer, for me, has been a journey not a destination. It was about writing lots (and lots and lots) of crappy stories, articles, and blog posts. It’s been about reading, reading, reading, and more reading. And becoming a writer, for me, has been about time and growing up. 

I recently finished writing a play that I started 8 months + 7 years ago. I actually started writing the play in college and never finished it. Last August I got an email from a guy at Liberty. He said that he was a part of a radio drama group and found my old version of my play in a file from one of my old professors and asked if I would be interested in finishing it. I said, yes! 

Then I looked at the old play and was like “Uh…this is horrible.” So, I started from scratch. 

Writing this play was a huge accomplishment for me as it brought me back to a place of intense dedication to creative writing that I hadn’t experienced since I was a little girl. If all goes well, hopefully, sometime in the next year, my play will be produced on the radio! 
I wanted to be a writer as a little girl because I loved stories and more importantly, I had stories inside of me. I had tiny voice inside that wanted to be a big voice, a voice that would speak to others in beauty and humortruth and love. And now that I am almost 30 years old, my voice is just starting to speak to others. It’s quiet; it’s small. But it’s there. 
My two act play I finished in June
I still have yet to make one dollar as a writer–my grandmother gave me good advice when I was five years old. But as all writers know, what we really want, more than money, fame, recognition, is readers. And in my writing journey I’ve gathered a few readers along the way, just a handful. But they’re enough to keep me going. 

Because do you know what I want to be when I grow up? 

A writer. 
Posted in Writing

"Without Love": A Devotional PUBLISHED!

I actually posted this devotional to my blog about six months ago but after talking to the editor of the devotional, I took it down at her request until after the book was published. Well, the book came out exactly 6 days ago!

(If you click on the image, it will take you to the Amazon info page)
I got an advance copy of this devotional and have really enjoyed reading the other selections. There are 60 devotionals plus other short pieces about everything from surviving roommate drama, to handling money, to choosing extra-curricular activities in college. This little book would be a great gift for a graduating senior or college student (I didn’t get paid for my writing or for promoting the book on my blog so this is as un-shameless a plug as it can get!)
I have enjoyed sharing my contribution to this book with the Freshman seminar classes that I have taught the past two semesters. My devotional, “Without Love,” is my testimony of how, after being a Christian for “my whole life,” my faith finally became real to me when I was a Sophomore at Liberty University. 
Please enjoy!
“Without Love”

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” I Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)

I once took an online quiz that told me I had the Bible knowledge of a seminary scholar. Whether the quiz had merit or not, I have always been confident in my Bible knowledge: my parents made “Bible” a subject in our home school; I memorized hundreds of verses through the AWANA program; and my best friends were kids who had cataloged away an equal—or greater!—amount of Biblical knowledge. Bible trivia was practically a contact sport—we were vicious in our efforts to “beat” each other to the right answer.

When I got to college though, I wanted to use my Bible training in a deeper way. My sophomore year I was chosen to be a Bible study leader on my dorm—I couldn’t wait to meet my five little sheep that I would shepherding! As I poured over my Bible, I prayed for insight. The Holy Spirit just needed to shine his divine flashlight on the right passage. Little did I know that His “lamp” was going to light my “path” first.

I finally decided to teach on a well-known passage—1 Corinthians 13. The words were so familiar—“love is patient, love is kind”—like a worn-out song on the radio, so recognizable that they bounced off my brain without really sinking in. But I wanted the passage to sink in with my girls so I started from the beginning, determined to extract some sort of “new” insight. I usually sped through the first three verses but this time I paused, wondering how I could present them in a fresh way. My mind started forming 21st century metaphors —“If I volunteer my Saturdays to sing to shut-ins at the nursing home, but have not love. . . if I play guitar in the praise band in front of thousands, but have not love. . .If I know every facet of theology, have read the Bible cover to cover, and memorized thousands of verses…but have not love, then I…am…nothing.”

In that moment, the divine flashlight exposed every prideful shadow of my heart. I had Bible knowledge but I didn’t have love. And that meant my Bible knowledge was…nothing. The truth was devastating—I finally saw myself for who I really was: a girl who had set up a trophy shelf of Bible knowledge yet who had never plunged into the work of Jesus Christ—knowing, serving, and loving others. Jesus loved until he bled—and then died; I had never even loved until it hurt. That day my Christian faith deepened a full 12 inches: the distance from my head to my heart.

I taught some good Bible lessons that semester, but more importantly, I learned what it meant to be a real Christian—a “little-Christ.” Instead of “loving” in words only, I applied my Bible knowledge to my hands and feet: I wrote weekly notes of encouragement to my girls and taped them to their doors; made them hot tea when they were sick; invited them to play putt-putt and eat ice cream on lonely Friday nights; and learned to truly listen, understand, and build friendships with girls who were completely different from myself. Being a good prayer leader, or a genuine Christian, wasn’t about whether I had the knowledge of a seminary graduate. It was—and is!— about love: the love that held Christ on the cross, the pathetically small love I offer back in gratefulness for my salvation and, with God’s help, the love that I give and receive in my relationships with others. Because without love, I am nothing.

Excerpt from The Campus Survival Guide: Representing Christ on Campus. Ed. Paul Buchanan and Paula Miller. Ventura: Regal, 2012. 121-123. Print.
Posted in Writing

"A Daughter Times Three": A fairy tale

It’s here! My 2nd short story has been published in Gallery of Worlds, a quarterly e-zine. Click here to read!

“A Daughter Times Three” is a fairy tale–complete with talking animals, a long-lost prophecy, and a magical birthday.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Annaka cried harder. She would never be happy again. Mama didn’t remember—how could she? Tomorrow everything would change. She was eleven and three hundred and sixty-four days. Tomorrow she would be Twelve.

Tomorrow she would lose the gift of speaking to the animals.

While my intended audience for this story is children (after all, children still believe in all the magic that the fairy tale offers) but the deeper themes of friendship, loss, and the courage it takes to grow up should appeal to readers of all ages. 
If you read it–to yourself or to your child–please let me know what you think! After all, authors make their “livings” on the feedback from their readers. 
Posted in Writing

Has Facebook distorted our view of "Friendship?": A Guest Post

This post was written by my student, Ashely Altis. I think her topic and writing are very applicable to today’s culture. Please comment so she can get her some feedback on her writing (either here or on Facebook)! What do you think? Has Facebook cheapened our view of a “friend”? 

True Friends

By Ashley Altis

The word “friend” is a word that is of great importance in the world. The word is not one to be taken lightly or underappreciated. It is a title that carries much responsibility for the holder. However, many people in the world today seem to have forgotten this. Culture has shaped the word “friend” into one that boasts of much less importance than its true meaning. This has happened especially through the invention of Facebook. Since the coming of Facebook, the word has taken on a more shallow meaning in some ways. Facebook has reduced the meaning of the word “friend” to little more than that of a “fan” or “follower,” but a true friend is a person who stands by someone, is able to be there for that person in a real way, and is able to spend time with that person.

Culture has shaped the word “friend” and changed its meaning dramatically since the invention of Facebook. The meaning of the word “friend,” in terms of Facebook, has been reduced to one more like the meaning of a “fan” or “follower.” A “friend” is now someone that can be viewed on a computer screen with no face-to-face interaction required, and “friends” can view each other’s interactions with others over the internet. People can have friends that they have never even met before and ones they have only talked to a few times. They can also have some friends that they cannot even remember how they know. In real life, most people would not claim anyone who fell into any of those categories as a friend, but Facebook clearly defines this differently. “Friends” are now defined as people who can view each other’s profiles to “get to know” each other.

Because of Facebook, many people have distanced themselves from the true meaning of the word “friend” and taken on this newer and easier version of the word. If the Facebook meaning of the word “friend” is thought to be the real meaning, then people no longer have to try and work as hard at having friends. In fact, Junghyun Kim and Jong-Eun Roselyn Lee, writers of the article “The Facebook Paths to Happiness: Effects of the Number of Facebook Friends and Self-Presentation on Subjective Well-Being,” say it this way: “In the world of Facebook…it does not take much effort to become ‘friends’ with other Facebook users; once formed, the ‘friendship’ does not require strong attachment or close connections” (360). Thus, in the technological world of today, where people have become more accustomed to using technology for just about everything, being a Facebook friend is often easier and more convenient than being a real friend. Many people have resolved to take the easy way out, and in doing so, they have left behind true, meaningful, “in person” friendships.

Contrary to what many of those in the world of Facebook have come to believe, a true friend is a person who stands by someone and is able to be there for that person in a real way. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word like this: “One joined to another in mutual benevolence and intimacy” (“Friend” def. 1a.). Unlike many Facebook friends, a true friend is someone who is always there and can always be counted on. An “in person” friend can often provide much more help and comfort than a Facebook friend can with words on a computer screen. Facebook friends cannot give hugs, help someone up when she falls, or give any other form of physical connection from their computer screen. Real friends are able to share one another’s burdens, as well as laughter and happiness, in a more real way than friends on Facebook are able to. Unlike Facebook friends, an “in person” friend has the privilege and the chance of physically being there for someone. This kind of interaction gives real friends a more concrete quality that is unattainable by Facebook friends.

In addition, friends that are physically together are able to spend time together. They can go to the movies, have sleepovers, or have long conversations while lying out under the stars. Facebook friends, however, have a little more trouble doing this. A Facebook “friendship” mostly consists of chat conversations, wall posts, and commenting on things that the other person posts, “likes,” or uploads. Unless Facebook friends chat or message each other quite often, it can be hard to know what is really going on with a person. Most people on Facebook do not post about everything that is going on in their lives, especially the personal things, since everyone that is “friends” with a certain person on Facebook can see all that that person posts and does. Most people do not want to share the most personal parts of their lives with everyone, so they do not post about what is really going on in their lives. Thus, Facebook users are likely to be more disconnected from their friend’s “real” lives than “in person” friends are.

Although culture and the invention of Facebook have given new meaning to the word “friend,” it is imperative that people always remember what the true meaning of a friend really is. In a world such as today, where technology reigns and Facebook is a supreme form of communication, people can easily lose sight of this. However, the world cannot allow this to happen. “In person” friendships are a very important part of life. They are a more real and meaningful source of comfort and connection from one person to another. Without “real” friendships like these, people would be left with a more shallow and disconnected view of the world and what it means to be a “friend,” and they would never have the chance to experience the joy and richness that comes from having “true” friendships.

Works Cited

“Friend.” Def. 1a. Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. Print.

Kim, Junghyun, and Jong-Eun Roselyn Lee. “The Facebook Paths to Happiness: Effects of the Number of Facebook Friends and Self-Presentation on Subjective Well-Being.” CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking 14.6 (2011): 359-364. Academic Search Complete. Web. 23 September 2011.

Posted in Writing

PUBLISHED! "Tallow and Tuffet"

Remember this post:  “We are pleased to inform you…” ?

My story came out in Gallery of Worlds a few days ago!

Want a sneak peek?

“I don’t want to live this way anymore, Lila.” Jack patiently explained again. “The Traditions—they don’t make sense to me anymore. Maybe they will again some day, but right now, I’m…” he searched for the right word. “I’m defined. I just want a chance to write my own definition.”
The characters in this quote from my short story “Tallow and Tuffet” are curiously “defined”: both are characters from familiar children’s nursery rhymes—Jack of “Jack be Nimble” fame and Little Miss (Lila) Muffet. The nursery rhyme backdrop provides a sense of child-like familiarity, but the themes of searching for identity, breaking away from “safe” social constructs, defying tradition, and taking risks are ideas that young adults wrestle with as they move from the safety of socially-defined childhood to self-defined adulthood.
This fantasy story is set in “The Dell” where nursery rhyme characters live together, performing their personal traditions with acute daily faithfulness until one day,  Jack’s candle is snuffed out unexpectedly. “Tallow and Tuffet” uniquely begins and ends at the same moment with both Jack and Lila experiencing a type of loss that enables them, for the first time, to begin a journey of self-definition.
Check out “Tallow and Tuffet” in Gallery of Worlds on page 39! 
(Please leave me a comment here on Facebook if you read it! I’d love to hear your feedback!!)
Posted in Writing

We are pleased to inform you….

YEA! I FINALLY had these six magical words offered to me in the form of an acceptance email for a story!!

My short story “Tallow and Tuffet” will be published by Lantern Hallow Press in their August issue of their e-zine Gallery of Worlds.

I love this story–I actually wrote it as a college sophomore but revised it significantly a few months ago.

I actually attempted to have this story published by a different magazine last year–but it was rejected. A few weeks ago, my college friend Rachel–who works for Lantern Hallow Press–emailed me (and a few other friends) to see if we wanted to submit any fantasy or fairy tale short stories. She loved Tallow and Tuffet–I am so glad because, like I said, I love this story too.

Here is a sneak peek of the story–it is actually the cover letter I sent to the other magazine trying to entice them to publish it; but I am so glad that LHP will be publishing it in August! Look for a blog post then for a link to read the e-zine.

“Tallow and Tuffet” Sneak Peek

“I don’t want to live this way anymore, Lila.” Jack patiently explained again. “The Traditions—they don’t make sense to me anymore. Maybe they will again some day, but right now, I’m…” he searched for the right word. “I’m defined. I just want a chance to write my own definition.”
The characters in this quote from my short story “Tallow and Tuffet” are curiously “defined”: both are characters from familiar children’s nursery rhymes—Jack of “Jack be Nimble” fame and Little Miss (Lila) Muffet. The nursery rhyme backdrop provides a sense of child-like familiarity, but the themes of searching for identity, breaking away from “safe” social constructs, defying tradition, and taking risks are ideas that young adults wrestle with as they move from the safety of socially-defined childhood to self-defined adulthood.
This fantasy story is set in “The Dell” where nursery rhyme characters live together, performing their personal traditions with acute daily faithfulness until one day,  Jack’s candle is snuffed out unexpectedly. “Tallow and Tuffet” uniquely begins and ends at the same moment with both Jack and Lila experiencing a type of loss that enables them, for the first time, to begin a journey of self-definition.
My intended audience for this story is sophisticated, intelligent, and intuitive readers ages sixteen and older. The story is both serious and humorous with just a touch of light romance. Unlike traditional nursery rhymes, “Tallow and Tuffet” does not end simply or tritely; rather the final scene is intended to leave readers questioning yet strangely satisfied. 
Posted in Writing

Publishing Firsts: "Isaac and the Itty Bitty Itch"

I have been trying to break into the publishing world since 2007. I haven’t had much luck yet with my articles and short stories, though I am proud of my short devotional that will be published in 2012 (I had to remove it from my blog per request of the editor but it will be back after it is published).

When I tell people the I like to write fiction, the immediate next question they ask is, “What do you write?” where the expected response would be, “Oh, science fiction OR fantasy OR short stories for kids OR post-modern adult fiction with a wink-and-nod at the Romanic era” (ok, that last one is a bit out there).

I just like to write. I have stories in my head; they come to me at random times…while I’m lying in bed, at the grocery store, driving in the car, reading a novel, or doing laundry. And, as a whole, my stories don’t fit into one nice neat genre (Children’s OR Adult OR Young Adult OR whatever); they are simply stories that bang around inside my head, or press at my conscience, or tickle my funny-bone until I simply stop resisting and bring them to life.

I have written stories for kids that deal with uncovering the mystery of who is eating apples out of the garage. I have written a story for adults that explores the haunting reality (and redemption) of a woman who was the victim of childhood sexual abuse. I have written fantasy for young adults by giving voices and personality to classic nursery rhyme characters.

Someday I am going to write a story about socks–you know, why are there never enough mates for every sock in the laundry?  Seriously, what happens to those socks? It is mystery that I am determined “solve.”

Ok, back the the purpose of this post: Publishing Firsts. I am sending out a short story to real, live  BOOK publishers (as opposed to magazine, the only medium I have tried–and failed–to publish in so far. Don’t ask my why a book publisher may be better success. My ego is probably too big for my own good). I am also sending the same story out to multiple publishers, what they call “simultaneous submissions” in publishing lingo. (Don’t worry, I did my research and every publisher I sent to accepts manuscripts that are simultaneously submitted).

This story is for kids (and in my mind, boys in particular, though girls will love this story too. Boys are my particular inspiration these days, though. Hmm, I wonder why?) This story was one of those came-to-me-as-I-was-trying-to-go-to-sleep stories.

Here is a taste of what I wrote in my cover letter for “Isaac and the Itty Bitty Itch”:

“An itch is a funny thing—especially those itches that attack you in bed at night, flitting furiously from shoulder to shin, elbow to earlobe, and everywhere in between.

Isaac has such an itch—an Itty Bitty Itch, as Grandpa tells him. It’s not a bug or a monster, but “a tiny creature, so small that no one can see it . . . the Itch loves to play tag! That’s why it moves to a new spot the moment you scratch the old one—the Itch wants you to chase it! And it has so much fun that it never wants to leave.”

Grandpa gives Isaac advice about how to get the Itch to leave, but Isaac decides to take matters into his own hands. Try as he might though, Isaac cannot stop chasing the Itch. But will Grandpa’s advice work? Will the Itty Bitty Itch ever go away and let Isaac sleep?

My 1072 word manuscript, intended to be a picture book, will uniquely capture the imaginations of children 4-8 years old, and perhaps “solve” the mystery of the nighttime Itch. (Beware: phantom itching may occur while reading this story…or perhaps you may have caught the Itty Bitty Itch yourself?)”

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Does anyone want to read the story now? (If you do, send me an email! I will be happy to let you read it. I don’t really want it floating around the internet so that is why I am not posting the whole thing on my blog).
BTW, the phantom itching is the real-deal! I was itching like crazy the whole time I was writing it and whenever I read it over again. Too funny. The power of suggestion, perhaps? Or maybe, it is the Itty Bitty Itch ITSELF???
Thanks for enduring this long post. I will update when I get my rejection letters in the mail 😉